Category Archives: Salmon

Chowder

A friend is currently in the US and has raved about the New England Clam Chowder he discovered in Boston. This got me thinking about the Seafood Chowder I tried and loved when I was in San Francisco a few years ago. There are many variations on the chowder recipe, normally inspired by fresh produce available in different regions in the US, and further back in history, several parts of Europe. I decided to try to make my version of chowder now that the weather has got cooler here in Sydney.

You could use any type of seafood that inspires you and is fresh; prawns, fish, shellfish etc. I used clams, as my fish monger had fresh ones available vacuum packed in their own juice and ready to go. I left the clams in their shell, purely for aesthetic purposes. A lot of recipes use bacon, but as a pescitarian, I substituted smoked salmon to give a smokey depth of flavour. I love things spicy so I added cayenne pepper for heat and smoked paprika to pimp up the smokey stakes. If you don’t like things quite so hot, skip the cayenne and just use the smoked paprika. Some recipes use a roux (a mixture of flour and fat) to thicken the soup and leave the potatoes chunky, I skipped the flour and blended the potatoes to thicken my soup.

You can serve your chowder with water cracker biscuits (which I think are similar to the American style oyster crackers), crusty bread, croutons, or as it was done in San Francisco, in hollowed out sour-dough bread.

What I was cooking this time last year: Pasta Pronto

Clam Chowder

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1kg potatoes
  • 1kg vacuum pack fresh clams
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • cream (optional, for serving)
  • Bread or crackers, to serve

Method

  • Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.
  • Pick the thyme leaves off their stalks, and the parsley leaves off their stalks.
  • Finely chop the parsley leaves and set aside.
  • Finely chop the tender parsley stalks (discard any that are too thick).

Chowder ingredients

  • Heat the oil in a large pan.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, parsley stalks, thyme leaves, garlic cloves, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.

Soup stock base

  • Cook, stirring occasionally while you roughly chop the smoked salmon.
  • Add the smoked salmon to the pot and continue to cook and stir while you peel and chop the potatoes into 1cm dice.

Potato soup base

  • Strain the clam juice from the vacuum pack (you should end up with about 1 cup) and add to the pot.

Clam juice clam shell

  • Add 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water to the pan and cover with a lid.

Soup cooking

  • Cook until the potato is soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaves.
  • Blend the soup until smooth.

Soup blending

  • Add the clams to the soup pot and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the clams are hot.

Clam chowder cooking

  • Your soup is ready to serve. Dish into bowls, drizzle with cream and garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy.

Clam Chowder

What is your favourite soup? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood, Soup

From my bookshelf: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

This week’s post is dedicated to a review of the book “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant – Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone”, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Alder. I stumbled across this book when I was travelling, alone, and was immediately intrigued.

It is made up of a collection of chapters by various contributors, and is part memoir, part creative writing about food, part recipe collection. It certainly raises some interesting questions about how and what we eat. Call me strange, but I love reading about food, so I was really in my element devouring this book (and referring back to it over the years) and would thoroughly recommend it to anybody else who loves reading about food.

A quote to give you a flavour of some of the themes explored “Dinner alone is one of life’s little pleasures. Certainly cooking for oneself reveals man at his weirdest. People lie when you ask them what they eat when they are alone. A salad, they tell you. But when you persist, they confess to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches deep fried and eaten with hot sauce, or spaghetti with butter and grape jam” from the chapter “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant” by Laurie Colwin.

Reflecting on this quote, and regardless whether you find yourself single, with a partner and / or children, there are occasions when we all find ourselves cooking for one and dining alone. In such circumstances, we are free to respond to whatever specific craving we may have, especially those cravings that may not constitute a meal, without explanation, whether that be a bowl of stir fried zucchini drizzled with a little lemon juice or nutella straight from the jar (two of my favourite indulgences). This book lets you take a peak into the secret eating habits of the contributors, and reflect on some of your own secret consumptions and food rituals.

I don’t mind cooking for one, and find this gives me a chance to experiment freely in the kitchen. Cooking, has for many foodies, been a way of providing care and nurturing for those we love. We should of course look after our own tummies and health as much as we look after those around us. Quite often when faced with the prospect of cooking for one, we don’t dedicate the same time and attention.

I do feel a bit uncomfortable dining out alone, especially in the evening. The book does explore this phenomenon. If I am travelling, I don’t let the discomfort stop me experiencing a new city, but I don’t think I have ever dined alone for dinner in my home town Sydney (perhaps something I should change). The book points out “alone and lonely are not synonymous; you will have yourself – and the food you love – for company”.

Single Girl Salmon

* This recipe is from the chapter “Single Cuisine” by Amanda Hesser in “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant”, and was originally adapted from Ginia Bellafante.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup tiny green French lentils
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black petter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 7 ounce fillet salmon, cut from the center (ask to have a square piece, rather than a skinny slice)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped flat-left parsley
  • Lemon wedge

Method

  • Rinse the lentils, then pour them into a small saucepan with the garlic clove and bay leaf. Cover with water (about 1/2 inch above the lentils). Set a lid on top, slightly askew. Bring to the boil, then adjust the heat so it is at a simmer. Cook until the lentils are just cooked through but still have a little bite, 15 to 20 minutes. Ginia does hers so they are like firm peas or al dente pasta.
  • Drain the lentils and put them in a bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the vinegar and the lemon juice. Fold and stir the lentils for a minute, so the seasonings blend well, then taste them. They should be quite tangy, because salmon is fatty and you will need something to sharpen it up. Ginia continued tasting the lentils every few minutes and adding more lemon as she prepared the shallots and salmon.
  • Place a small skillet over medium heat. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the shallots. Drop in a pinch of sugar, then stir as the shallots cook, turning them over and over, until they’re soft and have a glazed and golden look. Transfer to a plate and pace the pan back on the stove over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and lay it skin-side down in the pan. Let it cook for 1 minute. It will begin to render its fat and the skill will crisp and stick to the pan. When it is crisp, use a spatula to scrape up the skin. Ginia scrapes it up, quickly turns the fish and removes the skin from the pan. This may take one or two tries the first time around. Continue sauteing until the salmon is cooked on the edges and has just a thin line of pink running through the center.
  • To serve, spoon the lentils onto a plate. Lay the salmon fillet o top, and dap on the shallots. Shower with parsley and squeeze over a wedge of lemon.

What is your favourite secret indulgence when dining alone? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Lemon, Lentils, Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood

Bondi as a foodie shopping destination

I wanted to share with you some foodie shopping ideas from my part of Bondi, and the shops included in list below are all within walking distance of each other. Up the hill and tucked away a bit from the beachfront Campbell Parade strip, these are some of my favourite spots in Bondi. My recipe this weeks lets some of these amazing products take centre stage without too much interference from me, with details for mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels.

Kemney’s

137-147 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

If I am having trouble tracking down a specific ingredient for a recipe, I can normally find it here. Kemney’s is part independent supermarket, part gourmet deli, part independent liquor store. It stocks a variety of labels and products you won’t find in mainstream supermarkets, including a wide choice of European, Kosher and even Brazilian products. I love just having a browse through the treasure trove and seeing what I come across. The liquor section has a fantastic range at good prices, including extensive clear skin wine options. There is also an online website for ordering liquor http://www.kemneys.com.au. Parking can be tricky but you might be able to score a parking spot in the car park on Watson Street behind the store, and if you’ve stocked up you might even get some help transferring your purchases to your car.

Wellington Cakes

157 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

The bus load of tour group people are an indication of how popular this bakery is. This bakery sells a delicious range of breads, bagels, pies, quiche, biscuits, studels, cakes, slices and biscuits. The cherry and cheese strudel is my favourite.

Glick’s Cakes and Bagels

173 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026 (other branches also in Sydney and Melbourne)

Glick’s produces the most amazing bagels, including mini-bagels which are perfect if you are catering for a girly high-tea or bring-a-plate type get together. Be warned, they are closed during the day on Saturdays, and it pays to place an order ahead of time if you want something specific (I pre-ordered my poppy seed mini bagels) and to get there early (open from about 7am) as the line extends out the door as the morning progresses on Sundays. As well as bagels, Glick’s also sells a range of breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries.

Krinsky’s Kosher supermarket

175 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

Next door to Glick’s, Krinsky’s stocks a wide range of asian, middle eastern and other Kosher foods. A handy place to stock up on vegetarian jelly that does not contain gelatin. Worth having a browse if you want to try cooking with different ingredients or are looking for a bit of inspiration.

Russkis Deli

131 Bondi Road, Bondi NSW 2026

A Russian inspired deli that has an extensive range of smoked fish products, caviar, cured meats, dips, and other European delights.

Mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 400g smoked salmon
  • 18 mini bagels
  • lettuce

Method

  • Add the cream cheese, chives, lemon juice and zest to a bowl and mix to combine.

  • Wash your lettuce and cut or break into smaller sizes to suit your bagels.
  • Cut your bagels in half.
  • You are ready to start asembling – spread a generous amount of cream cheese to the bottom half of each bagel. Top with some lettuce and smoked salmon. Add your bagel top.

  • Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Enjoy.

What is your favourite foodie shop? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast, Cheese, Foodie Shopping Tip, Lemon, Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood

Asian inspiration

This week’s recipe is quite easy to scale, I’ve included details for one piece of salmon, but you can simply multiply the ingredients depending on how many you are catering for.

Kecap manis is a Indonesian sweet soy sauce that is thick and delicious. It is great for using as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or other asian nibbles, or in your stirfries, and can be found in the asian sauces section of most supermarkets these days. Miso paste is a Japanese soy bean paste, it comes in a white and red form, which you may have to go to an asian grocery store to track down. While you are at the asian grocery store you can pick up some mirin, which is a type of rice wine.

I’ve used salmon in this recipe, but it would work just as well with ocean trout or you could experiment with other types of fish. It is up to you if you want to use a piece of fish with the skin on or off.

Because of the high sugar content in the sweet soy sauce, you may end up with a black coating after cooking, to try and avoid this cook your salmon over a low heat and a piece of fish with the skin on will provide extra protection. I served my marinated salmon alongside some stirfried asian greens and rice, but feel free to improvise.

Asian marinated salmon

Ingredients

  • Drizzle of oil for pan frying, I used coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon red miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • chilli, finely chopped, to taste
  • 1/2 a lemon or lime worth of zest, use rest of the lemon or lime to serve
  • 200g salmon filet

Method

  • Add the miso paste, mirin, ginger, kecap manis, garlic, chilli and lemon or lime zest to a shallow dish and stir everything to combine.

  • Add your salmon to the dish and coat in the marinade, leave to soak up the flavours for 10 minutes (an hour would be even better).

  • Heat your pan to medium heat, add your oil to the bottom of the pan and add your marinated salmon filet. Turn down the heat and cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes depending in how thick your piece of fish is and how you like it cooked.

  • Turn the salmon filet and cook for a minute or two on the other side.
  • Your salmon is ready to serve, garnish with the lemon or lime. Enjoy.

What is your favourite fish dish? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

1 Comment

Filed under Lemon, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood

Salmon pastries

These pastries are perfect if you are entertaining / cooking for a crowd or as a starter. Hot smoked salmon is different to smoked salmon, in that it has a ‘cooked’ texture with a smoky flavour. Hot smoked salmon is generally found in the same area of the supermarket where you find smoked salmon. Even people that are not huge seafood fans seem to enjoy these pastries. The pastries freeze well, and are handy to have on standby.

Lemon myrtle leaf is an Australian native spice. If you don’t have it to hand, you can skip this ingredient and add grated lemon zest instead. Ground lemon myrtle leaf is available from Herbie’s Spices. You can order Herbie’s Spices online, or they are stocked in many delis and gourmet food stores.

To assemble these pastries I use an 8cm empanada mould, which cuts circles in the pastry on one side, then lets me produce the little pastry turnover parcels with the other side. If you don’t have access to an empanada mould, use a round cutter or egg ring to cut the pastry discs and your hands to assemble.

Salmon Pastries

* This recipe was inspired by a Trout & Leek Pie with Sorrel Hollandaise recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson that appears in Great British Menu Series 1. I have modified and adapted it over the years to come up with the below reincarnation.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 150g fillet hot smoked salmon [different to normal smoked salmon]
  • 1 x 1.6kg frozen puff pastry 10 sheets [you may not need all of the pastry, but it is better to have it available than run out]

Leek filling

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white & pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves [if you can’t find lemon thyme use normal thyme]
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable stock [I like the Vegeta brand]
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 anchovy, finely chopped
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ground lemon myrtle leaf

Quick Thyme Lemon Hollandaise Sauce

  • 2 large free range egg yolks
  • juice and zest of a lemon
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon thyme [or thyme]

Method

  1. First make the filling. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks, garlic, anchovy, bay leaf & stock powder and water, cook over a gentle heat for 15 – 20 mins or until all the liquid has evaporated and the leeks are soft and tender. Allow to cool.
  2. Remove the bay leaf from the leek mixture, then mix in the cream cheese, lemon juice, ground lemon myrtle leaf and thyme.
  3. Flake the salmon flesh, discarding the skin [check to make sure all the bones are removed], and add to the leek mixture and stir to combine.
  4. If cooking soon, preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Cut pastry into discs on a work surface – I aim to get 9 discs per sheet of pastry.
  6. Arrange a teaspoon of the leek filling in the middle of your disc – be careful not to overfill or you won’t be able to seal your pastry and it may explode during the cooking process.
  7. Fold over and seal the edges. Prick each pasty with a fork or skewer to allow steam to escape. These freeze really well at this stage.
  8. If cooking now, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown & crusty – can be cooked straight from frozen but may take a little longer.
  9. Meanwhile, make the hollandaise. Add the egg yolk, cayenne pepper, thyme, lemon juice & zest to a food processor or a bowl. Gently melt the butter, and add to the running food processor in a steady stream with the other sauce ingredients already inside or whisk the melted butter into the other sauce ingredients. Keep mixing until the sauce thickens. Keep sauce warm until ready to serve.
  10. Serve the pastries with the hollandaise sauce.

What is your favourite seafood recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

6 Comments

Filed under Lemon, Recipes, Salmon, Savoury, Seafood, Spices